Sir Hamilton Freer-Smith’s Committee set up by the Government of the UK had given its report on labour reforms and factory law. Subsequently, Indian Factory Labour Commission was set up under the Presidentship of W.T. Morrison of which T. M. Nair was also a member. That committee had to examine the suggestions of the Freer-Smith’s Committee too.
Courtesy: M. Anees Chrishti
T. M. Nair had given his Dissent Note when the Report had been given by the Committee to the Government of India, on 17.12.1906. His Dissent Note condemned the plight of workers in factories and recommended the reduction of hours of work and introduction of other welfare measures.
And, lo and behold, the British Government appreciated his sincere report and it was the contents of his Dissent Note which became the basis of the Factories Act, 1911. Some of his suggestions which had not been accepted in 1911 had been accepted later in 1922 and made law.
Gilbert Slater in his book, “The Dravidian Element in Indian Culture”, published in 1924, says thus, in Pages 138 and 139 of his book:
The present day politicians in power proclaim that they are bringing out this Labour Code on Social Security as per the recommendations of the Second Labour Commission. But, the fact is that the motive of that Commission was sinister and that Commission did not consist of the representatives of many trade unions of all India level. The broad spectrum of views of all the trade unions could not therefore be represented in the Commission.
That Dissent Note submitted very honestly by the Member Mr. C.K. Saji Narayanan on 21.05.2002, testify to the fact that it was only he who acted in the interest of working population.
But, the politicians in power do not care to consider the issues raised by them.
The traditionally selfish Indian society does not want to spare time to insist on the powers-that-be to explain its stand on the said Dissent Note and enlighten itself about the impending dangers it would face if and when the proposed Labour Code on Social Security comes into force.
Let the rulers be made accountable for the misadventure they rush into that would destabilise the health-care structure of the entire nation.